The Maryland General Assembly has passed a law extending access to abortion by lifting restrictions that physicians provide only and providing fair insurance coverage.
Annapolis, Md. – The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would extend access to abortion by lifting a ban on physician-only payments and would require more insurance plans for cost-effective abortion care.
The Senate passed the measure in a 28-15 vote. It sent the measure to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, whose office did not immediately comment on his position on the bill. The governor said he personally opposes abortion, although he called the matter a state settlement law.
Although a Senate veto would require 29 votes to overturn a veto, a Senate version of the bill was passed by 30 votes on Monday night, and several senators were pardoned when the Senate passed the bill on Tuesday.
Proponents say Maryland does not have enough abortion providers to meet the state’s needs. Sen. Delores Kelly, a Baltimore County Democrat who is sponsoring a Senate version of the bill, noted in an earlier debate that many counties do not have a single provider.
“It’s a big deal,” said Karen Nelson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood in Maryland. We know that being legitimate on the book does not mean that there is access, and so today the Maryland General Assembly has confirmed that there will be access. “
The bill would remove legal restrictions on abortion for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and medical assistants. It will create an abortion care training program and requires $ 3.5 million in state funding annually.
Opponents say the measure has gone too far.
“This bill is expanding,” said Carroll County Republican Sen. Justin Reddy. “Maryland is already one of only four states to force taxpayers to pay for an abortion, and we force it at almost every stage of the process.”
The law aims to provide fair access to abortion coverage, whether with private insurance or Medicaid. A personal insurance plan will be required to cover abortion care and without cost-sharing or legal discounts.
The new Conservative majority in the U.S. Supreme Court is considering repealing Rowe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that barred states from banning abortion.
If they do, at least 26 states will either ban direct abortion or severely restrict access, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that supports the right to abortion.
It will force many women to travel to other states for abortions, prompting democratic-led legislatures like Maryland to pass new legislation to prepare them.